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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

222        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

of instruction were all arts in a literal sense : grammar the art of
correct talking, rhetoric the art of correct speech, dialectic (or
logic) the art of correct argument, and so forth. On this view
there was need of new methods of teaching in all branches of study
in order to bring what was learned into relation to the actualities
of life. Instead of relying on the opinions of the ancients, the
teacher should ground his exposition on " nature." Grammar,
for example, should be studied with reference to the actual usages
of language : physics by the direct investigation of the facts. But
Ramus was not content with a mere change in method. He desired
an enlargement of the range of university study as well. And
after demonstrating the application of his principles to the subjects
of the trivium, which were the staple pursuits of the university,
he went on to deal with the neglected quadrivium. His efforts
in this direction were cut short by a persecution which ended with
his death during the massacre of Protestants on St. Bartholomew's
Day; but not before he had succeeded in giving pure and applied
mathematics a new importance among university studies, and had
prepared the way for the epoch-making advances in science which
distinguished the Seventeenth Century.

In Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), the transmutation of
humanism under the influence of a revolutionary individualism
took a very different direction from what it had taken in Rabelais
and Ramus. For both of these men the one enemy to be combated
was the medieval spirit, and their chief departure from the typical
humanism appeared in their desire for a wider and more personal
culture by the addition of concrete studies to the study of ancient
life and letters. Montaigne, though an omnivorous reader, and
to that extent at one with them, lacked the scientific interest, and
so found it less easy to get compensation for the limitations of
humanism by a simple extension of learning into other spheres of
thought. In the absence of this outlet for his dissatisfaction with
things as they were, his mental unrest made him critical not only
of the old learning but of the new. He could not find a solution
for the problems of life in humanism any more than in the studies
it had displaced. The mere getting of knowledge of whatever
sort seemed to him to turn scholars into pedants, and to give no
training in practical judgment. " We are constantly asking about
a man," he says in his Essay on Pedantry, " Does he know Greek
or Latin? Can he write in verse or prose? What is really